From the moment we start searching for “the one,” we’re faced with a set of standards we’re told our relationship is supposed to live up to – otherwise, we’re wasting our time in a less-than-perfect relationship. But does a perfect relationship even exist?
Perhaps it was our obsession with Disney movies as children, or our love of romcoms as we grew older, or our current fascination with influencer and celebrity couples, but it seems that we place quite a few expectations on the guy we’re dating, and our relationship, to look a certain way – to check off a magic number of boxes so we can consider it perfect, meant to be.
But is it any surprise that the pursuit of love can cause us to behave a tad unrealistically? We’re given an idealistic, impractical image of what true love looks like from a young age: a fairytale that never leaves us confused, at odds, or in pain.
And with this image comes a bevy of ideas that are meant to help us decipher an unfit match from the match, but instead, are total myths that lead us to search for a level of perfection within our relationships that doesn’t exist. And we’ve all, somewhere along the line, fallen victim to one or two.
So what are these myths, you ask? Read on to find out.
Myth #1: You’ll Never Fight
The first fight in a relationship is sort of a rude wake-up call. It quickly calls our attention to the uncomfortable fact that the “honeymoon” days of hiding our true opinions or dancing around each other have come to a close. After the first real fight (I’m talking more than just a little tiff, but an actual disagreement), we tend to question if this person is right for us at all – after all, we’ve all come across those couples who boast, “Oh, we never fight!”
But chances are, those couples are either lying to us, or they’re lying to each other. The truth is that we’ll never find another person we invariably agree with, and fighting isn’t necessarily a sign of incompatibility as much as it is a sign of truthfulness and authenticity within the relationship (except if the fights are excessive/abusive, of course). So if you and your guy occasionally get into a disagreement, it’s more important to consider the way you fight and what you fight about than how often it happens.
Myth #2: You’ll Have the Same Amount of Sexual Desire
TV shows and movies love to depict their “soulmate” couples with a sex life that’s ideal and perfectly timed-out, almost like a dance. Their way of showing just how in love these couples are is by showing them with a perfectly even interest in one another – which is wonderful (better than watching couples cheating on each other!), but unfortunately, unrealistic.
It’s normal to not always feel up to intimacy at the same moment.
No matter how much we love our husband, or how happy we are with him, there’s a good chance we won’t always feel up to intimacy at the same moment – and that’s not just okay, it’s also normal. Some of us just have a lower sex drive in general, or could go through seasons of lower desire for a million different reasons. Sexual compatibility doesn’t look like always wanting it at the same moment, but instead, cultivating a healthy level of trust, respect, and understanding within the context of intimacy.
Myth #3: You’ll Be 100% Compatible
Yet another uncomfortable truth: there’s no such thing as a person who’s 100% compatible with us except ourselves (and even that’s questionable sometimes). It’s lovely and romantic to imagine there’s a man out there who loves cats too, who’d rather stay in and watch British mysteries every night too, who’d always be in the mood for whatever food we’re craving… but he only exists in a fantasy land.
The beauty of a relationship is how it actually brings two separate people together, and how we’re able to share our own unique “worlds” with each other. Before meeting my husband, I wasn’t a fan of video games, dogs, or cooking – but since stepping into his world, I’ve been introduced to new loves and new sides of myself. I see the beauty in video games; I see the appeal of dogs; I actually love cooking now. And even if we don’t end up loving everything our spouse loves, that’s okay – we actually aren’t required to!
Myth #4: Your Desires in Life Will Never Change
We don’t want the same things at 24 that we wanted when we were 14. Our desires, even those we’ve considered “part” of us, aren’t ever set in stone. Life shakes out differently than we’d expected and our priorities shift, or we come to find that this thing we’d always dreamed of wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
We can’t expect our guy’s desires to stay the same, either. This doesn’t have to immediately spell trouble, but can actually help us question our own desires and consider whether they’re realistic, worthwhile, and compatible with his.
Myth #5: You’ll Want To Spend Every Waking Moment Together
The beginning stages of a budding romance always find us craving to be around each other more, missing them the moment we leave them, wondering what they’re doing at every given moment, and counting down the minutes until we see them again. Everything is so new, and we can’t get enough of it.
But eventually, this feeling subsides, and we actually enjoy having an evening with our friends, or even to ourselves. We might even look forward to these nights, and that’s actually a healthy development. Couples that can’t handle spending a single day apart aren’t just insufferable, they’re codependent and headed for failure.
Couples that can’t handle spending a single day apart aren’t just insufferable, they’re codependent.
Our guy isn’t supposed to fulfill every need. Regardless of how well-matched we are, we’ll need friends or family to support us, and quality time alone to maintain our independence and sense of self.
Myth #6: You’ll Be Unfailingly Attracted to Them
We’re the first to advocate for the importance of physical attraction in a romantic relationship – that’s what sets our boyfriend apart from our other friends. Caring about our partner’s appearance before we know them isn’t shallow or unfair.
However, the truth about being with someone for an extended period of time is that this initial attraction won’t always look the way it did when we first fell for them. We could marry a male model — and at first, that would be exciting – but then, eventually, as we woke up next to him every morning, he’d just be Henry, who snores, steals the blankets, leaves the toilet seat up, and hasn’t booked work for a little while.
As beautiful as Henry is, we won’t be perpetually attracted to him in the same way we were on the first date. We’ll get used to him and his handsomeness, and even find ourselves sometimes bothered by some of his less winsome qualities.
Myth #7: You’ll Be Able To Share Everything with Them
There’s this idea that if someone is, indeed, your soulmate, you should be able to tell them anything – and they should understand. We think of our soulmate as being so on our wavelength that there’s no chance of them ever misunderstanding us or being better off not hearing something we thought.
Despite honesty being an essential element in a relationship, there’s a kind of unfiltered, undiscerning honesty that’s unhelpful, even harmful. We don’t need to let our partner in on every little thought we have, especially if it’s a thought that would hurt us if the roles were reversed.
There is a kind of unfiltered, undiscerning honesty that’s unhelpful, even harmful.
But it’s not just that. Our thoughts are often heavily influenced by our emotions and don’t always tell the full truth. If we’re questioning our commitment to the relationship after a huge fight, it might be best to keep that to ourselves or talk through it with a therapist, instead of unloading this thought on our guy immediately. We might find that this thought was more fleeting than we’d anticipated.
Myth #8: Your Passion Won’t Fade If It’s Right
Movies like The Notebook make a clear case that if there’s passion, that’s our sign that it’s meant to be. The kind of passion we envision when we think of a couple in love is exhilarating, fiery, and spontaneous. But this kind of excitement can’t, and shouldn’t, last forever in a relationship.
As we grow more used to one another and our relationship finds its rhythm, this particular brand of passion naturally subsides for a slow-burning passion – a kind that’s rooted not in a momentary feeling, but commitment, devotion, familiarity, and respect.
Myth #9: You’ll Complete Each Other
We all know that “You complete me” moment from Jerry Maguire – but even if we subconsciously know there’s something off about it, we can’t help but get butterflies at the thought that there’s a man out there so perfect, so wonderful, and so uniquely suited for us that being with him would feel like finding our missing puzzle piece.
But this can’t be stressed enough: a relationship absolutely needs to be made up of two whole people for it to be healthy and mature. Waiting for a man to arrive to make us whole only holds us back, serves to create an unhealthy dynamic, and makes us a lot less of a catch. The thought of a soulmate being out there is whimsical and romantic, but it’s ultimately a recipe for disaster and heartache.
The search for love is hard enough, but paying any attention to these myths makes it all the more difficult. But rather than the debunking of these myths making us lose hope, we can see it as eliminating the myths that have been keeping us from finding love.
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